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Fun with Push Lights 


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Fun with Push Lights 

Written By: Steven Robert Cypherd 


Drill with bits (1) 
Hot Glue gun & hot glue (1) 
Needle Nose Pliers (1) 
Screw Driver set (1) 
Soldering iron solder (1) 
Wire cutter/stripper (1) 


Auto Color Changings LEDs (1) 
hook-up wire small any color (1) 


We have all used something like these battery-operated stick-up lights for closets and dark 
places. And we forget about them. Note: You should check all of your battery-powered 
devices at least once a year. When batteries leak they can damage everything and rust 
metal contacts. 

Most of the older stick-up lights use light bulbs, not LEDs. This is a good thing for us. Why? 
You can do more with more voltage. Four AA batteries equal six volts. That will run 
electronics like 555 timers and microprocessors (Basic Stamps and Arduinos, for example) 
and that makes for much more fun projects. 

This is a simple modification of a battery-operated light to use LEDs instead of a light bulb. 
LEDs use different voltages than a light bulb does in most cases. You need to wire in the 

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Fun with Push Lights 

LEDs to the right voltage to get them to work right. The RGB LEDs need 4.5 volts and the 
work LEDs can run on 6 volts. 

Step 1 — Fun with Push Lights 

Holes for 
Wires go 

Remove -_J ™ h ° le 

where bulb 


Do not use the battery door holes 

• The original light. I got the project 
done before I took pictures of all of 
the steps. It is an easy project. 

• Get your light and open it up. Clean 
battery contacts and any places 
where wires connect. I cleaned off 
all of the old wires and I had to 
clean all of the contacts with a wire 
brush before I could solder them. A 
Dremel works great for this. 

• Modify the basic wiring of your light 
to fit your plans. Find where to tap 
into the voltages you need. See my 
wiring diagram. The RGB LEDs use 
25 to 60 mA each so three will give 
you about an evening of fun. The 
work LEDs use about 200 mA so 
the batteries won't last too long, but 
that is OK. The brighter the LED 
the more current they use. If you 
need more power you may need a 
wall adapter. 

• To use the RGB LEDs on higher 
voltage use a current-limiting 
resistor on the positive lead of 
each LED. Use about 22 ohms for 
six volts and about 33 ohms for 9 & 
12 volts. Stay within the 
recommended current. 

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Fun with Push Lights 

Step 2 

Fun with Push Lights 


ONLY 4.5 Volls 

Mark Positive 


Be Careful!!!!! 

Available al 


Reversing Power will 
DESTROY these! 

Work Lights RGB lights 


Auto Color Changing LED 
4.5 Volts Only! Do Not Reverse! 

The LED 

The layour 
25 lo 80 mA 
A Device! Not an LED 

+ 4.S 

RLS-fiGB-ACC slow changing (0.27sec & 4 sec) 

Testin an LED 

100 k Pot 

Cathode - II Anode 

LEDs ore Light Emitting 
Diodes. They ore Current 
Devices with three states 
Dim but lit - lit and steady 
Too bright over driven 
Testing: Pot full CC 
Install LED. Pot slow C 
until LED is lit steady 
NOT too bright, 
Disconnect Pot DMM 
Ohms read Pot 

• This is my wiring diagram. 

• The placement of the LEDs is up to you. My layout looks beautiful and lights up a corner. 
The work lights work OK too. The hole for the RGB LEDs is 7/32 and that worked for my 
work lights too. By making your holes loose you can aim your LEDs in different directions 
for any look that you like. 

• When you're ready you can start the project. Note: Take time for a little rest and keep your 
eyes open for things that can make your project better or just easier. Do not rush anything 
because if something doesn't work right you will just have to tear everything apart and 
start over. Just look at all of the extra holes I have. 

• Some large bright LEDs need a resistor so you should test everything. Normal LEDs run at 
about 1 .4 - 2.2 volts forward voltage and about 7-20 mA. A 430 ohm resistor should work 
just fine for 6 volts. 

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Fun with Push Lights 

Step 3 

/?im v 

• Done! This image shows all parts 
and the tools I used. On the left is 
the rim with LED holes and on the 
right is the dome with the reflector 
and the notch in it. 

• For holes that just let the LED poke 
through, a Dremel diamond-shaped 
metal cutter works very well. You 
can just make little holes for the 
LED leads and other wires and 
make any design that you want to. 

• Keep playing with your plans until it 
makes you happy. You can light up 
anything including you. Have fun 
with LEDs. 

• Review it. 

• Test the things you can test. 

• Make a plan and stick to it. 

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Fun with Push Lights 

Step 4 

ad Planning 


• The wiring. 

• Make sure there are no wires to poke anyone changing the batteries. I used hot glue to 
cover the LEDs and the wires. 

• Install additional switches as needed for your plans. I have one switch to change from 
RGB to the work lights. My switch changes who gets the ground connection. The RGB 
LEDs are 4.5 volts only and my work LEDS work fine at 6 volts with no resistor. 

• Some professional LEDs have a resistor or a circuit in them that controls the current and 
voltage for that LED. They do not light up until they reach their minimum operating voltage. 
These LEDs can usually run at up to 9 or 12 volts, but test them first. 

• Test everything before you hot glue everything up. That is why we have breadboards in so 
many sizes and colors. If you do not have one then go buy one of the many starter packs 
that come with a breadboard and hook-up wires. Some come with a collection of electronic 
parts. They are so much fun. 

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Fun with Push Lights 

Step 5 

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Fun with Push Lights 

• Work- Lights 

• Because they were not bright 
enough through the dome I moved 
them to the rim. I just kept putting 
globs of hot glue down and let it 
cool and then more globs until the 
LEDs fit into their holes. I used the 
glue gun tip to clean it up. 

• Make the reflector. 

• For the reflector you will need: Tin 
foil, clear 2-inch-wide packing tape, 
a hole guide for your LEDs and 
parts layout, single paper punch 
and heavy scissors. 

• After I drilled my holes I flipped my 
light over and I traced through my 
holes onto a piece of paper. 
Measuring things always comes up 
with too many errors. I put things 
together and I mark where I need to 
do something. Sharpie ink comes 
off with alcohol. 

• Cut the tin foil into a square about 
an inch bigger than the dome of 
your light. With the shiny side down 
layer 3 to 10 layers of the packing 
tape evenly onto the foil. You need 
to keep the tape even, but not neat 
around the edges. You'll cut it to 
size later. 

• Peel the tape and foil off of the 
work bench and flip it over. You 
can trim off the excess tape around 
the edges. Place the foil shiny side 
up on a hard surface like glass. 

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Fun with Push Lights 

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Fun with Push Lights 

Step 6 

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Fun with Push Lights 

• Burnish the tin foil with a smooth 
hard metal or plastic tool like the 
back of a spoon or something until 
it's shiny. Be gentle or you will tear 
the foil. It helps to have the tape on 
evenly, but you can play with 
things to make it look any way that 
you want it to look. 

• Find the center of your dome by 
placing it upside down on a level 
surface and place a small round 
bead, ball bearing or something so 
it rolls to the center. Using a non- 
permeating marker, put a dot where 
the ball is. Make the mark big 
enough to see through your dome. 
Hold your dome right side towards 
you facing some bright light. Using 
the same marker make a dot over 
the center dot on the outside of 
your doom. Make sure you can 
clean the marker off with alcohol or 

• Place your dome face up. Using a 
compass, gently hold the compass 
point to the dot on your dome and 
spread the compass to the edge of 
your dome. You now have the 
radius of your dome. I taped a 
marker to my compass where the 
pencil would go. Place the point of 
the compass into the center of your 
foil and draw to mark the outside 
edge of your reflector. 

• If your dome has straight sides 
going into the rim then go to the 

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Fun with Push Lights 

edge of the curved part of your 
dome. Leave enough room around 
the edge of your reflector for any 
springs, switches or screws and 
anything else that would interfere 
with the pushing action of your 
dome. Test the fit and trim as 

• Cut out your reflector. Cut your 
reflector to the center so you can 
get a paper punch in to make the 
holes for the LEDs. To make a 
cone, overlap the edges of the 
center cut until the cone is about a 
half-inch high, or so it fits your 
dome. Use double-stick tape to 
secure the overlapped edges and 
even out the surface with more 
packing tape. 

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Fun with Push Lights 

Step 7 

• See how beautiful it is. 

• Notes: 

• I found that older solid wires like 
phone-company wire can be 
difficult to tin with solder. You 
should always pre-tin your wires 
when working with LEDs, 
transistors, diodes, IC chips and 
other items because too much heat 
can damage things. Place your 
components in first. Then cut, strip, 
tin and bend your wires to minimize 
the time it takes you to solder 
things up. Good planning helps 
keep parts healthy. It is no fun to 
find a bad part on final check-out. 

• Hot-glue guns put things together in 
a hurry. A small glue gun does so 
many things well that there is the 
smell of hot glue in my room most 
of the time. If you need a big glue 
gun then get one. 

• Hot glue does not stick to most 
LEDs because they are made of 
polycarbonate plastic. This a very 
smooth plastic with a high melt 
point. Glue your LEDs from behind, 
getting the glue into the leads and 
the wires. You can spot-glue your 
LEDs in while you adjust position 
and aim. Test everything. 

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Fun with Push Lights 

This requires simple soldering and wiring. There are many soldering guides available on this 

Anyone can add or fix anything on my prject. 

This document was last generated on 2012-11-02 08:51:47 AM. 

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